Recently Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) resigned his pastorate of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when it became known he had committed adultery. Tchividjian is the grandson of Billy Graham.
In a statement he released to the Washington Post Tchividjian said, “I returned from a trip a few months back and discovered that my wife was having an affair…as her affair continued, we separated…I subsequently sought comfort in a friend and developed an inappropriate relationship myself.” His wife Kim later said, “The statement reflected my husband’s opinions but not my own.”
I find these revelations heartbreaking for at least two reasons. First, given the mutual betrayals of infidelity and the ongoing difference of opinion about what transpired, it seems certain another example of Christian marriage will end in divorce and disgrace, and another family will be fractured by what could have been avoidable sin. Tullian and Kim’s selfish acts are going to have some ill effect on their three children who are the most innocent in this matter. So I grieve the hurt and heartache that will have some lasting impact on everyone in their family.
Second, Tchividjian was the pastor of a prominent church, an author, founder of the ministry Liberate, a sought after speaker and has been a frequent guest of all the major news venues. He was very much in the public eye, and this revelation like David’s sin with Bathsheba will give “occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme,” 2 Samuel 12:14. There has never been a time in America when the claims of Christ and the credibility of the Church have been so closely questioned, and now a champion of our cause has succumbed to a very common sin. Our culture can be very unforgiving in this kind of situation.
But Paul enjoins us, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted,” Galatians 6:1. Tullian’s sin is inexcusable, but it is forgivable in Christ and there is always the hope of restoration to fellowship with Christ and His Church with the exercise of repentance.
Billy Graham’s grandson would have done well to have followed his grandfather’s rule to never be in a room alone with a woman, and like his grandfather guarded his ministry from scandal. Tchividjian has learned that his lineage and position of influence were no shield to temptation and the consequences of moral failure.
While restoration and wholeness can be restored through repentance, it remains to be seen if Tchividjian will ever fully regain the level of trustworthiness and influence from where he has fallen. As Paul said, those of us who desire to serve Christ are not immune to temptation, and this should be a lesson to us all. Pray for his restoration and be warned.